Henry Salt (1851 - 1939)
Henry Stephens Salt wrote the first book entirely devoted to animal rights, published in 1892: Animals' Rights: considered in relation to social progress
(1). He sought to impress people not to kill or eat animals and submitted that such behaviour is the distinction of a civilised society:
"...it is ourselves, our own vital instincts, that we wrong, when we trample on the rights of the fellow-beings, human or animal, over whom we chance to hold jurisdiction."
Salt was a British social campaigner, writer, naturalist, prominent anti-vivisectionist and vegetarian. He was born in India and educated in England. After attending Cambridge University he taught classics at Eton preparatory school but left to adopt a vegetarian life-style growing vegetables at a remote country cottage while writing for a living.
Salt believed animals should be free to live their own lives and that humanity has a responsibility to treat them compassionately and justly. His animal rights book influenced Gandhi (1869 - 1948), political and spiritual leader of India and advocate of vegetarianism and of non-violent protest.
Salt’s other social reform interests included schools, prisons, criminal law, flogging in the Royal Navy and food-animal slaughter. In 1891 he founded and was general secretary of the Humanitarian League that opposed, on grounds of ethics and good social science, the infliction of avoidable suffering on any sentient being whether man or beast. Among the League’s aims was better protection for wild and domesticated animals, abolition of corporal punishment and the death penalty, and opposition to vivisection, the fur and feather trade and hunting for sport (such as fox hunting with hounds).
Among his books are A Plea for Vegetarianism
(1886), The New Charter, a Discussion of the Rights of Men and the Rights of Animals
(1896), The Logic of Vegetarianism
(1899) and Our Vanishing Wildflowers
Salt, Henry Stephens. Animals' Rights: considered in relation to social progress
. Macmillan: New York. 1892. Reprinted 1980.
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